Perceptions in a pandemic: Texans’ support for public schools grows

Disclaimer: This initiative initially was launched and coordinated by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, which in 2022 merged with and became the Charles Butt Foundation.

We heard a lot about public schools in 2020. We saw news headlines, social media posts, photos, and videos about the pandemic school experience. We even read a few questionable predictions about learning models and what schools were and weren’t capable of this school year.

Fortunately, we now have reliable data about what Texans really think — data not just from the loud or well-connected voices, but from a representative sample of all voices. Voices representing every region of Texas. Voices we expect to hear from and voices we don’t typically hear from.

And what we heard may surprise you. The most powerful finding from our 2021 Foundation Poll shows that Texans’ support for public schools grew, even amid the challenges of the pandemic. More than 90 percent of Texans expressed the same or more appreciation for their local schools and educators in 2020.

We heard about other things too — what students really miss during the pandemic, doubts about standardized testing, opinions about funding and revenue, and which student supports Texans overwhelmingly endorse.

Unfortunately, our poll confirmed the field has a lot of work to do to remove barriers to learning for students from low-income families, and for Black and Hispanic students.

Visit our interactive poll resources to see all the stats, graphs, and charts that bring these Texas voices to life. And join us in digging in to make this data actionable for our organizations, universities, schools, and communities.